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Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers highlights social work challenges and opportunities to Assembly Health Committee

The Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers (NIASW) today briefed the Northern Ireland Assembly Health Committee to highlight the pressures facing social work and to detail changes required to support the profession.

Speaking following the session Colin Reid, NIASW Deputy Chair said: “NIASW is pleased the Health Committee fully recognises the role of social work in improving outcomes in the lives of people across Northern Ireland. Today’s session demonstrated Committee Members’ support for our proposals to remove the barriers that hamper social workers as they deliver services.

Issues highlighted by NIASW included the need to reduce bureaucracy to enable social workers to spend more time with service users and the importance of ensuring employers fill vacant social work posts.

The NIASW delegation discussed with Committee members how NIASW’s recommendations link with themes detailed in the Health Minister’s recently published 10 year vision for Health and Social Care, Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together. NIASW also stressed the need for the Department of Health to provide more information on the Minister’s proposal for social workers to be included in restructured primary care teams embedded around General Practitioners.

Mr Reid continued: “NIASW is greatly encouraged by the support for the social work profession demonstrated both by the Health Committee and Minister O’Neill. The Minister’s 10 year vision provides a welcome opportunity to address the challenges we have identified.

Mr Reid concluded by saying “To ensure successful delivery of the Minister’s vision it is essential social work is fully represented on the structures tasked with transforming Health and Social Care. We look forward to continuing to work with Members of the Health Committee and Department of Health officials to ensure social work is represented in these emerging structures.”